Monday, January 31, 2011

A Politician Comes to Visit

At 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning the women organized a campaign to hear an independent parliament candidate named Jokkene Timothy Okee voice his opinion on the political happenings of Uganda.

We were so lucky to be in a place where we could accommodate for his campaign, and for the women to know that their opinion matters.

Mr. Okee himself was there to speak to the ladies and even our construction workers stopped to listen. He had an introductory speaker open for him and told me in English he wanted to explain his views to me after he talked to the women in Luo. His slogan was “A New Hope” and he spoke in a very serious and calming tone as he enchanted the women with his ideals about a better tomorrow. Although I couldn’t understand his words I noticed that a few minutes into his speech his pace sped up and he began to speak with passion and fervor. The women listened in rapt attention; sometimes laughing, sometimes murmuring, often nodding their heads along. He was a funny, and a good and confident speaker but I was just happy the women had this opportunity to listen and choose.

He told me after about his connection to Partners Worldwide and his goals to make sustainable jobs for Ugandans, and help the people to vote for parties not personalities. He told me about the hardships of allowing an illiterate (statistically 31% of Ugandan adults are illiterate), poor, manipulated, and uneducated people group to vote and his goals to create literacy before anything else. His goal was to build the capacity of the people.

Be Our Valentine & Free Shipping!

It's already that time of the year - hearts are invading the world! We happen to think Valentine's Day is pretty great - a perfect time of year to shower love on those you care about most. If you're flying solo this year, it's the perfect time to treat yourself! We're offering free shipping on orders more than $30, from now through Valentine's Day.

We still have our 30% of Winter Sale going on, so combine the free shipping and discounts for great deals!

Here are some of my personal favorite Fair Trade Valentine's Day gift ideas:

I tried this AMAZING chocolate at Green Festival this past fall, and I'm hooked. Fairly traded and $4.25 a bar, I STRONGLY urge you to just spend $45 and get the 12-pack. It's the perfect mix of salty sweet goodness.

Is your sweetie a yogi? Get her a combo One Mango Tree gift set of a Yoga Bag (on sale $19.60) and yummy-scented Eye Pillow (on sale $10.50) in her favorite colors. At $30.10 for the set, you'll get free shipping too!

send roses with even more meaning

Sending flowers? Check out this great deal at your local Whole Foods - support farmers and give back to their communities in Ecuador. It's a great time to get educated about where our flowers come from, and the impact you make when you buy ethical flowers!

For a great gift guide of all fair trade items, check out our friends at Fair Trade Trends - they put together a fantastic list! Bookmark their blog - they always have fantastic fair trade gift ideas!

Happy Valentine's Day - we hope that your February 14th is filled with love!

xo Halle

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Sale!

It's cold outside, and depending on which part of the US you live in, the snow is really coming down. I don't know about you, but my favorite thing to do in that kind of weather is to make some {fair trade} coffee and snuggle up with my laptop, watching the flakes fall out the window.Here at One Mango Tree, we're already thinking about spring, so it's a perfect time to offer all of you laptop/coffee/snuggler friends out there some great deals on One Mango Tree merchandise. We've pretty much marked down our whole product line - at least 30% off! It's a first for our 100% organic apparel collection. Our stock is getting pretty low, so make sure you snag your favorites before they're gone! Check out some of the great deals below:

Cap-Sleeve Jacket
{was $38, on sale $26.60}

Perfectly styled for winter when layered with a tissue turtleneck and a chunky scarf (have you seen our friends' ShopMayu's beautiful fair trade collection from Peru?). Best part is you can still wear it when the weather warms up, layered over a soft, gauzy tank, it's perfect for the office and casual enough to sport with jeans too!

Old Barn Handloomed Scarf
{was $26, on sale $18.20}

Our favorite! These gorgeous, 100% cotton hand-loomed scarves are the product of a partnership with Wawoto Kacel, a weaving cooperative in Northern Uganda. All of the colors are hand-dyed {and beautiful}, and since the scarves are light-weight cotton, you'll be able to keep on sporting them right into the spring!

The Betty Clutch
{was $26, on sale $18.20}

You better hurry to snag one of these! The Betty Clutch is hand-woven from dried banana leaves, and it became a fast favorite this season - we only have a few left, and at this price, they are bound to disappear. Also made by weavers at Wawoto Kacel, we're really proud of the eco-friendliness of this piece - the banana leaves are gathered at our artisans' home gardens - a no impact fashion statement!

Stay warm and happy shopping!

xo Halle

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One Mango Tree Unwrapped

We love giving gifts - hence our monthly Twitter giveaways. But if there's one thing we love more than giving gifts ourselves, it's seeing others give One Mango Tree to their loved ones. Check out a few photos below of some lucky people who found One Mango Tree packages under the tree this year.

Clockwise from left: @MarySick gave a Weekender, Market Tote and Scarves, @JenDT's brother gave her a Kilara Spiral Necklace, DC yoga teacher Scott Carson gave his daughter a Shirred Cowl Neck Tank, and @MarySick gave her grandma a Peace Purse.

Did you receive One Mango Tree this year? Send a photo to, or post on Twitter and tag us @onemangotree.

xo Halle

Monday, January 3, 2011

A belated holiday Gratitude Greeting

Sorry we're late, friends. It's already the New Year - we hadn't noticed, because we haven't stopped celebrating! This year's theme was definitely Growth & Gratitude. Even with our current economic climate, One Mango Tree continues to grow - so much so that it's often a struggle to keep up! We're excited to make 2011 about Building & Balance (with some continued gratitude in there, for good measure), continuing work on our beautiful products and providing incomes that change lives.

Check out this beautiful short video put together by our much-loved Lauranne Boyd, who just reached San Diego safely {after a nation-wide road trip} and is starting her new work with Invisible Children. We miss you, Lauranne!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! from everyone at One Mango Tree from Lauranne Boyd on Vimeo.

So what, exactly, are we grateful for? Check out just a few of our 2010 accomplishments:
  • Welcoming the latest One Mango Tree ladies - nine beautiful new ladies from our referral program with International Organization for Migration - they started training in January and we welcomed then on-board as full-time staff in April, growing our Gulu team to 30 tailors!
  • Opening our Lil' Mangoes Daycare. A long-time dream for the ladies - we opened an on-site daycare for their small ones (we started out with 9 pre-nursery-age children and the number quickly started to grow...), and hired Alice, our full-time daycare teacher, who showers the lil' mangoes with love and learning every day.
  • Supporting education. We paid out more than $4,000 in school fees scholarships in 2010, supporting 84 children to stay in school!
  • Learning our status. Partnering with Visions in Action, we offered free HIV Testing and counseling to our staff on-site at our workshop.
  • Saving, saving, and more saving! We worked with Respond ReNU to help the OMT ladies create a Village Savings and Loan Association. They set records for saving at their very first meeting! The ladies also participated in a 6-week course on financial literacy, helping them to develop their own family budgets and savings plans.
  • Shipping our first apparel order. We partnered with Global Girlfriend to create 100% organic cotton knit apparel line, creating new skills and new jobs! A few months later, we added our own small collection, to rave reviews from our customers!
  • Whole Foods! Target! We saw our products for the first time by two of our favorite large retailers, showing their commitment to fair trade and helping to spread the word about One Mango Tree!
  • Moving up. We closed out the year with a big move, to a nicer compound and workshop for the ladies.
Thank you so much for your support in 2010 - it is your continued commitment to One Mango Tree and fair trade that enables our business to grow, and for great stories to be told by our ladies in Gulu. You are a part of that story now, so please share it with pride!

Stay tuned for our 2011 goals!

Spread the Love! Our New Year Giveaway is HERE!

We're packing up the December giveaway right now (a brand-spankin new Black & White Yoga Mat Bag and yummy Eye Pillow set) to @littlelindseyy to help get her 2011 yoga practice off to a joyful start! Seems like a good time to announce a fresh giveaway to kick off this fabulous new year!

Drum roll please.....

Spread the LOVE about One Mango Tree this month and you'll be eligible to win a Nassarine Clutch (a $28 value)!

We love the Nassarine in part because of the story behind it. We were looking for a more labor-intensive handbag to keep the ladies busy in Gulu (busy = more earnings!), so naturally patchwork was one of our first ideas. Nassarine (see photo, below) is in charge of cutting all of our patterns, so we named this clutch in her honor - an homage to the smile and giggle she let out when we told her how many small squares we needed her to cut from our scraps! This clutch is truly a work of art {and love} from our heart to yours.

Nassarine, chalking out a pattern

Here's how you can win it:

Step ONE: Simply tweet or blog about us! Link this this giveaway.

Don't tweet? Mention us on your blog or on Facebook instead!

Step TWO: Just tag us with @OneMangoTree (Twitter)
or leave a comment here if you're Facebooking or blogging about us. Spread the love! There's no limit to the number of entries, so tweet away!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Shifting" Compounds in Gulu, Uganda

One Mango Tree has officially moved compounds. We are so happy with our new place. Prisca and I had been harping our new landlord like crazy to make sure everything was “shift-ready” before we moved in. The women worked very hard to get everything transferred over. Where in America we would have hired trucks and moving men and bought boxes and bubble wrap, the women came in the morning and piled everything on their heads and walked the dirt road between the two compounds to start the transfer. The truck and the men did eventually show up but the women were still the number one workers.
Their work ethic BLEW MY MIND. They knew the task at hand and had it fulfilled quickly, no complaining or extended rest period. Their resourcefulness and perseverance was inspiring and I knew it could only come from the skills and mind-set they had developed from working for One Mango Tree and knowing the feeling of providing for their own needs.
The move went smoothly. We were surrounded by painters, cleaners, and guard men as we moved in.
They were still working on the paint job for the outside and I think in honor of the company that was moving in they painted our house a beautiful shade of ORANGE, like the inside of a mango.
As night fell over our new packed out house the Sunday night rubbish burning began and the air filled with smoke.
The last thing the landlord said to us before he went home, after the down payment was given and the moving was finished was, “One more thing, see this dog here, he has no other home. He is yours.” And thus, we were given Pinker, the lovely guard dog of our new orange One Mango Tree house.


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